Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mo' Basta!

That's a great phrase I learned when I moved to the south.  You might remember 'mo' from my Five Regional Words list.  I'd never heard it while living in Ascoli Piceno, but it's very common here, as I mentioned.  I often hear "mo' basta!" or "basta mo'!" uttered by frustrated mothers who are telling their kids, "knock it off".  It also means, "enough already!"

So after ten days of snow that accumulated and continued to accumulate; that basically isolated the village because the roads weren't passable; that brought cold wind and a non-stop week-long streak of steady flurries, I'm uttering in exasperation, "MO' BASTA!"

At first it was pretty.  A nice fluffy coating that brought all the kids out to play, make snowmen, and slide down a hill.  I even got into the fray of a snowball fight with some of my students.  Che bello! we all uttered.  That was Day Two.  Then it wouldn't quit.

The lovely landscape on Day Two

They're saying it hasn't snowed like this in thirty years; I can tell you I feel very fortunate to witness first-hand this momentous occasion.  Not.  After twenty years as a desert dweller, I prefer my snow to fall on a ski slope. We didn't give the merest thought to our charming pedestrian lanes being packed up tight with snow and ice when we bought the house.  And naturally we didn't think to invest in a snow shovel at any point in the past year and a half, either.

So.  Here I am, while Bryan is in the US at the moment.  Ten days of snow.  No shovel.  Tunnel-like streets of amassed white stuff with a layer of ice underneath.  And still it squalls (a good Ohio snow word).  I resorted to cleaning the stairs that lead to the house with a broom and a dustpan.  That worked for about a day, then it piled up too fast and deep for the Fuller brush method to keep up.  I borrowed my neighbor's shovel.  But it's not a snow shovel, it's a heavy iron pointy shovel that is very good at breaking up ice, but not so effective at moving piles of snow.  They don't show this stuff on House Hunters International, folks!

A friend took pity on me and showed up with his actual, real, heavy-duty snow shovel and went to work.  I was liberated to move about without worry of slipping and breaking my neck (or ankle).  But then the mother-lovin' squalls wouldn't stop.  I trudged about in my boots to get provisions from the shops, which thankfully are reachable in a small village.  But now the shelves are starting to get a bit bare and we're all getting a bit worried.

It's getting a little old.  And boring.  And dangerous.

Yesterday it stopped just long enough to go out and re-clear the path that had previously been shoveled.  It warmed up a bit so that it was fairly easy and things were getting slushy.  I was congratulating myself on having invested in the waterproof rubber boots that everyone wears when they do their vendemmia or work in campagna, albeit a cuter version.  They served me well in the puddles and slosh.  I slopped the mess off to one side of the walkway to keep a pathway open and came back in the house, peeled off the wet layers and the boots, and turned on the computer.  Then I heard an astounding crash.  I yanked open the door to find that a great mass of snow had fallen off the roof of the building behind ours and crashed down - right on the path I'd just cleared.

Mamma mia!  Two minutes sooner and I'd have been one crushed chickadee.  Neighbors came running out to see what was amuck, to ascertain that the americana hadn't gotten herself killed, and to point out (a little too late) the dangers of falling, heavy, wet snow from tile roofs.  Valiant friend returned with the snow shovel to dig me out, because it mounded up and blocked the street.

The terrace on Day Three

All of Italy is experiencing the same problem.  Parts of the country were without power for several days.  Some towns are completely cut off and several people have died.  In the grand scheme of things, we've been okay - electricity works, we still have food, the bakery is still making fresh bread every day, and we can basically move about the village, though some of the narrow lanes are impassable.  How glad am I that we installed that condizionatore heat pump in September?  Not having to keep a fire going 24-7 has lessened the hassle of it all.

I repayed my snow shovel-bearing friend by hosting him and his family for a chili and cornbread dinner last night, which they enjoyed.  Other friends have invited me to pranzo today.  Bryan gets back next week.  So it's not all bad.

However.  All this white and cold and wet is wearing me down.  My broom ain't cutting it, my clothes aren't drying, and I'm getting cabin fever.  MO' BASTA!